Razz is type of low poker game which is actually a derivative of Seven Card Stud poker. In fact, if you pass by a razz poker table in an offline or an online casino such as Bet365 casino, and are unaware that it’s a razz poker game underway, you may easily mistake it to be any other Seven Card Stud hand. How these two games differ from each other is the way in which showdown happens. In razz poker, you make use of a unique hand rankings system for determination of the winning hand. Let’s go over the various rules associated with razz poker and also these unique hand rankings we just talked about.
The objective of the game
In razz poker, the main objective of the players is to win money by either increasing the stakes so much that other players are forced to fold their cards or by taking the game till the showdown round, where it comes down to the best hand in the game. Whoever wins the hand gets the total amount of money in pot, at the centre of the table.
The best strategy to increase your winning chances in razz poker is by knowing when you should fold your cards (ideally whenever you get a poor hand) and when you should increase the stakes/bets (ideally whenever you get a certain winning hand).
The game of razz poker is normally played at a dedicated table with anywhere from 2 to 8 players. It isn’t uncommon to witness 6 or less players playing razz poker at any given time. The reason why the game can’t be played by more than 8 players at a time is because every player is dealt 7 cards in total, and a 52 card deck would easily get exhausted if majority of 9 players stay in the game. Although that’s a possibility even with 8 players at the table, but more often than not, one or more players do fold their cards during the initial rounds of betting, and hence the total number of cards normally don’t fall short with 8 players. Involving nine players on the other hand is taking it a bit too far!
There are no blinds system in razz poker. Instead, there’s a bring-in bet and antes that force players to get involved in the game action right away. Razz poker tables are separated based on their betting limits, so whenever you visit an off-line or an online casino such as the Bet365 casino, you’re most likely to find £ 1 / £ 2 razz table, £ 2 / £ 4 razz table and the kinds. So, in case of £ 2 / £ 4 razz table, £ 2 is the small bet (or lower betting limit) and £ 4 is the big bet (or higher betting limit).
Razz poker rules
Let’s now go through various razz poker rules in a comprehensive and step-by-step manner.
Shuffling up and dealing of the cards
The razz poker game begins by each player placing their ante bets on the table. It’s a small forced bet whose main purpose is to start the game action right away. The ante amounts are normally anywhere from one tenth to one quarter of the small bet. Hence, if you’re playing at a £ 2 / £ 4 razz table, the ante amount is most likely to be anywhere from 20p to 50p.
Once all the players have placed their ante amounts on the table, the dealer deals three cards each to all players. Every player is handed one card at a time, starting from the player on the dealer’s left and then in clockwise direction. The first two cards are dealt face down (also known as the hole cards) and the third card is dealt face up (also known as the up card).
About the bring-in
Once all the players have been dealt their first three cards, the gaming action begins with the player who gets the highest-value up card. This player may either bring in, or opt for completing the bet by equalling it with the small bet amount. Normally, the bring-in is anywhere from one-third to half of the small bet amount. Hence, if you’re playing at a £ 2 / £ 4 razz table, it may be anywhere from 65p to £ 1. However, please keep in mind that the exact size of the bring-in may vary from casino to casino and table to table. There is no standard percentage here. So, if you’re playing razz poker in an online casino like the Bet365 casino, the bring-in percentage there may be different from a similar kind of casino set-up on the Internet or offline.
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In most cases, the player having the highest value up card simply makes the bring-in, opting against completing the bet. This is because in razz poker all you want is low cards. So, you wouldn’t want to place any bigger bets and then getting a high card. In the event that two players get the same highest value up card, the person starting the betting action is determined by the suit of their cards. Diamonds are ranked higher than the clubs; clubs are ranked higher than hearts and hearts are ranked higher than the spades.
Furthermore, please also remember that the aces are normally considered low cards, hence, King is possibly the worst card you can receive in razz poker.
After the first player has decided to either complete the bet or make the bring-in, the gaming action continues in clockwise direction. The other players on the table can either fold their cards, complete the bet or call the bring-in. In case the bet was already completed by the first player, the subsequent players are allowed to raise it to 2 small bets. This round of betting ends after every player at the table has either called the bet amount or has folded his/her cards.
At this point, the dealer hands out one more card to all the players in face up position. Hence, every player in the game now has four cards in total of which two are facedown cards and two are up cards. The player who had received the lowest face up card earlier gets the first card in this round, followed by the rest in clockwise direction around the table.
Once all the players have got their new face up card, a new betting round is started. It begins with the player who has the lowest up card hand on the table. This player can either bet or check. The options available to other players on the table will depend on what this player chooses to do. In case he/she checks, the other players are allowed to either check or bet the small bet amount. On the other hand, if this player bets the small bet amount, the other players can either call that bet, raise it to 2 small bets or fold their cards.
After everyone has matched the highest bet on the table or has folded his/her cards, the game moves to the fifth street.
An important point to note here is that up until the fifth street, the players use small bet amounts (or the lower betting limit) for placing their bets. However, from the fifth street onwards all players are required to place their bets based on the big bet amount (or the higher betting limit). There’s a limit of four bets in every betting round and hence players may only fold or call, and not raise if three raises have already been made.
This round of betting is exactly the same as the fourth street, except for the fact that players need to make bets based on the big bet amount (the higher betting limit). The dealer deals another face up card to every player still in the game, starting from the player who had the lowest hand in the previous betting round, and then moving in clockwise direction around the table. The betting action begins with the players who had the lowest hand in the previous round, and goes about the same way as in fourth street, differing only in terms of the bet sizes. Once the dealer is done dealing the face up cards to all the players (still in action), every player at the table would have five cards in total, of which two would be in facedown position and three in face up position.
Exactly the same as the fifth street, this round of betting involves dealing of another face up card to every player still in the game. A betting round just as in fifth street takes place after the players have been dealt their cards. Thereafter, the play moves on to the seventh street.
All the players still in the game are dealt their final card in this round. However, unlike as in earlier rounds, this final card is dealt in facedown position. The betting action starts from the player who had the lowest showing hand in the previous round, proceeding in clockwise direction from there on until every player in the game has matched the highest bet or folded his/her cards. The game moves into the showdown phase if by the end of this round, there’s more than one player remaining in the game.
All the players who reach the showdown stage flip their hands over, revealing them to everyone, for determination of the winner of the hand. This flipping starts from the player who makes the last bet, followed by others in clockwise direction around the table. Following are the different razz poker hand rankings that are used for determination of the winner:
Hand Ranking / Hand / Examples
No. 1 / 5 Low / 5 4 3 2 A
No. 2 / 6 Low / 6 4 3 2 A
No. 3 / 7 Low / 7 5 4 3 2
No. 4 / 8 Low / 8 7 5 4 3
No. 5 / 9 Low / 9 5 4 3 2
No. 6 / 10 Low / 10 9 7 4 2
No. 7 / Jack Low / J 8 7 4 2
No. 8 / Queen Low / Q 8 6 5 3
No. 9 / King Low / K J 8 3 2
In the event that two players get the same hand, for instance, the seven low, the other cards in their hands come into play for ascertaining the winner. The second highest card in their hands is checked and whoever’s is the lowest becomes the winner of the game. If the second highest cards are also the same, the third highest card comes into play and so on, till the fifth highest card.